It was a historic day in Washington state as Democratic members of the Washington state House elected Rep. Laurie Jinkins as the new House Speaker, making her the first LGBTQ person and first woman to hold the position in Washington state.
Jinkins will become one of three openly LGBTQ people currently serving as the leader of a state legislative chamber, joining California President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek. Jinkins will be the sixth openly LGBTQ state House speaker in U.S. history when she takes on the position in January of next year.
“To have an openly LGBTQ woman in one of the most powerful roles in government can be transformative for the state of Washington,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “Speaker Jinkins will bring her unique perspective to the job: determining priorities, shaping legislation, and influencing how her caucus votes on equality and other key issues. All three states on the Pacific coast now have LGBTQ people leading one chamber of their state legislature, continuing the trend of more LGBTQ people securing key legislative leadership positions.”
“I first ran for public office because I wanted to make sure all families have the same opportunities for success. Washington continues to rank among the top states to live, work, and do business in large part due to the forward-thinking policies adopted by the Legislature over the last 20 years,” Jinkins said in a statement. “We made sure all kids have access to health care regardless of family income. We have some of the best colleges and universities in the nation. And we support families by embracing marriage equality, paid family leave, equal pay, and many other polices. I want every family to have the same opportunities my family has had, and that vision will be the guiding force during my service as speaker.”
Jinkins added, “I thank my colleagues for their confidence. This will be the most challenging job I’ll ever have but I am humbled and buoyed by the support of members of this caucus. For 20 years, we’ve worked together to improve quality of life on behalf of the people of Washington and House Democrats are committed to continuing that work for communities and families all across the state.”
Jinkins has championed several legislative proposals that were signed into law in recent years, including bills to reduce medical debt bankruptcies, expand access to life-saving drugs to chronically ill patients, and a first-in-the-nation Long-Term Care Trust Act. Jinkins has devoted much of her legislative career to improving Washington’s behavioral health system.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Rep. Jinkins as our new speaker-designate,” said seatmate Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma). “Laurie has been a fantastic mentor to me throughout my time in the Legislature. She has spent much of her professional and legislative career in public health, dedicated to improving the lives of others. She’s deeply committed to making her community a better place to live and work. Laurie will bring that same passion to her role as speaker as she leads our caucus, the House, and the Washington state.”
Jinkins began her career protecting Washington’s children from abuse and neglect and has spent the last 20 years advancing public health. Before her election, Jinkins’ community involvement focused on higher education, improving city government, advancing Washington’s anti-discrimination laws and serving Tacoma’s non-profit sector.
Jinkins earned her Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law (then the University of Puget Sound School Of Law). Click here for her full bio.
Jinkins, who began her first term as a state representative in 2011, is currently the chair of the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee, and sits on the House Appropriations and Health Care & Wellness Committees.
She joins five other openly LGBTQ people who have served as speakers of their state House: John Perez in California (2010 – 2014), Gordon Fox in Rhode Island (2010 – 2014), Mark Ferrandino in Colorado (2012 – 2014), Kotek in Oregon (2013 – present) and Atkins in California (2014 – 2016).
California President Pro Tem Atkins remains the only openly LGBTQ person to lead a state Senate. There are at least 22 openly LGBTQ people currently serving in leadership roles in state legislatures – from speakers to majority and minority leaders to caucus whips.
Jinkins will immediately receive the title of “speaker-designate” and assume several House leadership responsibilities associated with the role.
According to the Washington state constitution, acting Speaker John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) will continue serving as acting speaker until the start of the next legislative session, which convenes on January 13, 2020.
“It’s been a great honor and privilege serving as acting speaker during this transition,” said Lovick. “I look forward to continuing in this role and working collaboratively with speaker-designate Jinkins until January when her confirmation becomes official.”
Core responsibilities of the speaker include serving as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, chair of Executive Rules (House administrative committee), and chair of the House Rules committee. The speaker appoints other elected members to standing and statutory committees, signs all bills in open session, and oversees all employees of the House.
Rep. Laurie Jinkins made history today as not only the first woman Speaker of the House here in WA, but also as the first open lesbian elected to the position! #waleghttps://t.co/kbQ4vtJImj pic.twitter.com/1qo4sH3GRG
— WA House Democrats (@WAHouseDems) July 31, 2019
— The Seattle Lesbian (@TheSeaLesbian) November 3, 2010
Congratulations to Laurie Jinkins on being selected by her House Democratic colleagues to serve as the next Speaker of the House!
We’re looking forward to partnering with Speaker-designate Jinkins and the House Dems as we continue our work putting people first. #waleg
— Washington Senate Democratic Campaign (@SenateDemocrats) July 31, 2019
— Rachel La Corte (@RachelAPOly) July 31, 2019
Congratulations to Rep. Laurie Jinkins—the first-ever woman elected to serve as speaker of the WA state House of Representatives! Looking forward to continuing to serve our great state together.https://t.co/UOlmVYgF4i
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) July 31, 2019
BIG NEWS: Today the Washington House of Representatives elected Rep. Laurie Jinkins as the Speaker of the House! @lauriejinkins2 is the first lesbian and first woman to hold the Speaker’s position. #OutPowerhttps://t.co/bXZfvhQvYW
— Victory Institute (@VictoryInst) July 31, 2019
A woman’s place is in the House. For the first time in our state’s history, Washington has elected a woman as House Speaker! Congratulations @lauriejinkins2! #TheFutureIsFemale 🎉 https://t.co/WcEB5pxg1a
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) July 31, 2019
— Support Our Schools (@SupportWASchool) July 31, 2019
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Christianity Today Spikes in Readership After Trump Removal Op-Ed
Leading evangelical publication Christianity Today was founded by the late evangelist Billy Graham in 1956 and now, in a strange twist of fate, the readers who helped propel the publication into the spotlight are joining in numbers favoring POTUS getting the boot out of public office. To be fair, there has been some blood spilled. The newly splintered sphere of vocal readers caused one-third of subscribers to cancel their membership to the publication – but get this: according to Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli, the publication has gained three times as many subscribers in the process.
“Although we’ve lost hundreds of subscribers, we’ve gained three times as many subscribers,” Galli told Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC on Sunday. Adding later, “Something flipped” during the impeachment hearings.”
Galli penned the op-ed that started the shakedown in the first place, wherein he criticized Trump’s “grossly immoral character” throughout the Mueller investigation and impeachment hearings.
“We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath,” he wrote in the op-ed. “The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see.”
The letter also stated: “The typical CT [Christianity Times] approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage. That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.”
Watch the MSNBC interview here and read the dissenting tweets below.
A far left magazine, or very “progressive,” as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn’t been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years, Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
.@CTMagazine released an editorial saying @POTUS Trump should be removed from office & they invoked my father’s name, so I felt I should respond. Yes, @BillyGraham founded Christianity Today; but no, he would not agree w/ their piece. He’d be disappointed. https://t.co/XO5Fj0hxnc
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 20, 2019
The op-ed concluded:
To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.
Even with the tremendous spike in subscribers, Galli’s days with Christianity Today are numbered. The editor told CNN last week he plans on leaving the publication.
Image via MSNBC screengrab.
SCOTUS: No Question About Citizenship on the 2020 US Census
Trump just lost – and he lost BIG. The Supreme Court of the United States has blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. While there is potentially still time to resubmit for inclusion, experts predict it’s not enough.
The 5-4 decision included the four liberal justices, joined by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.
Kid Writes Lesbian Neighbors A Note: You’ve ‘Given Me the Courage to Come Out’
File this one under: why representation matters.
Sal Stow and her partner Meghan Stabler of Round Rock, Texas, had no idea that flying a Pride flag outside of their home would lead to a social media blitz, appearances on Good Morning America, entries in People Magazine, or anything short of just a normal day in June. However, what actually happened is one for the record books.
And it all began because of a Pride flag and a letter under a rock on the front step.
“Hello. You don’t know me,” the letter begins. “We’re moving away today, but I wanted to thank you. Seeing a Pride flag waving so proudly outside your house everyday has given me the courage to come out to my family and be more comfortable with who I am.”
“I just went out to collect 2 packages from the doorstep (at my partner Meghan’s house, that I call home) only to find this note under a rock on the mat,” Stow wrote on Facebook. “This is why visibility is SO important. You never know who needs the support and to know it’s ok. I hope this person is ok, their family is being supportive and they find a community to connect with that can help them through this brave process.”
Stow continued, “Williamson County is extremely conservative and in fact the County Commissioners voted 4-0 to not allow the pride flag to be flown on the Round Rock county court buildings. I am proud of who I am and the person I love. I will continue to be visible in whatever way I can #lgbtq+ #pridevisibility #translivesmatter #trans #hrc #stonewall50 #equality”
LGBTQ Visibility Matters: Read a beautiful note found on my doorstep. I proudly fly 2 rainbow flags at my home. You never know who needs the support, who is hiding and needs a lift up. #PrideMonth2019 #translivesmatter #stonewall50 #equality https://t.co/AjpCCobJYq pic.twitter.com/rh2qT3eFys
— Meghan Stabler (@MeghanStabler) June 19, 2019
The drawing featured a person holding transgender and pansexual pride flags.
“Visibility has never been as important as it is today. While we have made strides for equality over the past decades, we know we have a long way to go,” Stabler told New Civil Rights Movement. “In many states, in many counties, in many towns, being out and proud is still a challenge. Fear and exclusion or worse – hate and anger – are still an everyday lived experience for some members of the LGBTQ community.”
Stabler issued a call to continue combating anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
“If simply flying a pride flag 365 days of the year brings hope to someone, then I encourage everyone, including allies, to do so,” she said.
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